Big Ten baseball: Purdue keeps its composure
By Mark Znidar, The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio
May 26–When Penn State scored two runs in the top of the first inning, Purdue pitcher Matt Morgan didn't sense any panic in the dugout.
"It was a businesslike approach," he said. "When we get down, we know our offense can come back in a big way. I had to reset and refocus. I attacked the zone and let my defense work."
Morgan and his teammates did just that.
The Boilermakers stormed back by scoring three runs in the fifth and three in the eighth to defeat the Nittany Lions 7-2 in the first round of the Big Ten baseball tournament yesterday in Huntington Park.
Morgan gave up five hits and struck out eight in eight innings, center fielder Tyler Spillner hit a two-run homer and left fielder Stephen Talbott drove in three runs.
Purdue (37-18) will play second-seeded Michigan State (34-19) in the second round at 3:35 p.m. today. Penn State (32-21) plays Minnesota (22-23) at 12:05 p.m. in an elimination game.
Coach Doug Schreiber saluted his players for coming back. His team won two of three games from the Nittany Lions during the season.
"I thought our team did a great job of persevering through the early adversity," he said. "We got some timely hits and manufactured some runs. It's an opportunity to keep moving forward."
Penn State hurt itself by committing two errors in the fifth, when Purdue took a 4-2 lead.
Spillner hit the two-run homer in the eighth to give the Boilermakers a 7-2 lead.
Michigan State swept a three-game series from Purdue during the regular season in East Lansing, Mich. But the Boilermakers have won seven of their past nine games.
"They got the best of us during the regular season," Talbott said. "We're itching to get a crack at them again."
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